Exploring St Petersburg

sometimes feels like an exercise in archaeology: an attempt to excavate what was suddenly terminated when the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917. In many cases this past, this frozen life, has not been destroyed or rebuilt but simply abandoned, left to itself. It is still intact, perhaps even alive, buried just beneath the surface or peeping through it, covered over with layers of paint like the ruins of Pompeii under their protective layers of ash. Blow off the dust, scrape off the paint, and the fabric of past centuries lies waiting, ready to be inhabited once more.